The Definitive Guide to Online Gambling Account Security
It seems like there’s a new data breach or security problem every month with some major website. Subsequently, we want to make sure that players know how to do everything in their power to keep their accounts safe. Any time finances are involved online, securing your account is very important.
Securing Your Online Gambling Accounts From the Ground Up
The topic of security is something that often gets branded as being boring or unnecessary in online gambling. However, it’s one of those necessary things that does take a little bit of time in exchange for peace of mind.
With that said, you can have a very effective security setup with a minimal amount of time and fuss.
That’s the idea behind what we want to present to you here. In essence, we want to maximize the amount of security you get while minimizing the aggravation and time it takes to set things up.
Players may find it surprising that a very favorable balance like this can be reached. However, it requires a ground-up understanding of what you’re aiming for. Additionally, this means understanding the main ways that people can make their way into your account.
Step 1: Understanding Attack Vectors
Before we get started, we want to make it clear what we’re trying to defend against. Generally speaking, hackers and other shady figures will want to get one or more of the following pieces of information for the following reasons:
- Casino Username – Once they know this, all they need is your password. Without this, they can’t even make a log-in attempt in the first place.
- Casino Password – This should be the hardest piece of information for someone to get. However, that’s often paradoxically not the case. We’ll break down why down below.
- Email Account Used for Your Gambling Account – If someone knows the email you use, they can try to get into it. Once they’re in, they can abuse “forgot your username” and “forgot your password” features. Even if they only know the email address itself, they can attack with phishing campaigns and fake support emails.
With any three of these pieces of information, they can start an attack. Along these lines, if you can keep these three pieces of information from being known, it makes it really difficult for your account to be subject to such an attack. Keeping this information from people 100 percent of the time isn’t always possible. However, it can protect you from most types of attacks most of the time.
In the next step, we’ll show how to set this up to avoid the most common types of attacks.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Accounts
In an ideal situation, we keep the three key pieces of information above out of the hands of anyone else. That’s not always possible 100 percent of the time for everyone. However, if you set up things correctly from the beginning, it can be the case most of the time. Here we’ll look at how such a setup can work.
Setting Up a Username
When setting up a username, be sure to not use anything you use for other accounts. In an ideal situation, casino accounts at different sites will not use the same username either. The idea here is to make it so that someone can’t even begin to try to figure out your password. Essentially, they won’t know the account exists without the username, so they fundamentally can’t attack it.
Setting Up a Password
Much of the same applies to choosing a password. It should not be the same as the password you use for anything else. However, at the same time, it shouldn’t be a derivative of other passwords either. For example, if you use “Buggie111” as a password, someone may guess “Buggie222” next. Keeping passwords from being derivatives of each other will stop the most common attacks along these lines.
Setting Up an Email
Your email address is a particularly sensitive piece of the puzzle. This is because the email account itself can be attacked. If that email is compromised, then it can be used to get your username and/or password. Because of this, your email is something that you should protect to an extreme level.
The easiest way to do this is to keep people from knowing what it is to begin with. As such, we suggest choosing a new email address just for your online gambling account. This will keep people from being able to try to guess your password. If you don’t use it for anything other than the one site, then no one will really be able to gain access to it in most circumstances.
Step 3: System Maintenance
Over time, you’ll want to maintain your system for security. This includes updating certain pieces of information just in case they have been leaked or compromised.
Of the three pieces of information that we have been talking about here, the password is the most important. It should be changed on a regular basis at least once every six months. For many people, they don’t understand why that’s the case, and we’re going to get into that in the following.
Understanding the Need for Maintenance
Something you have to understand is that data leaks and hacks happen. There’s not really anything that anyone can do about it. Some non-zero percentage of the time, your passwords and other data will be compromised.
The thing about it is that we don’t know when this has happened until it’s too late. The notification that someone has tried to get into our account is the first time we’ll know. We’d prefer to keep it from happening if we can, and changing our password helps with that.
The idea behind this is actually pretty straightforward. Most leaks and data dumps like this aren’t actually used until weeks or months after they happen. This is because bulk amounts of data are taken all at the same time. That’s because it usually happens from some type of large database leak.
Simply put, it can take a while until they get around to trying your username and password. However, once that’s out there, and they know the password works, that’s when you’re in trouble. Changing your password on a regular basis every three to six months helps to avoid this attack vector.
It’s a bit anti-intuitive to think that you need to change your password to stay safe. The idea, after all, is that no one has your password to begin with. If no one has your password, it can be difficult to see the point in changing it. However, getting ahead of potential leaks is how you avoid the whole problem in the first place.
Step 4: Securing Your Devices
While the first three steps above were talking about a “big picture” approach, there’s more to it. On a more micro scale (compared to macro), securing your physical devices is very useful as well. Simply put, if someone has access to your computer or mobile device, they can use that access to get into your online gambling accounts if they know what they are doing.
Here are a few simple things you can do to help keep this from happening:
- Keep an anti-virus program on your computer that scans daily. You can schedule this to check your system at night while you sleep automatically. If someone places a keylogger or other virus on your computer, they can use that to hack you.
- Have a password set up on your computer and mobile device. Do not let anyone else have this password. Change your password every three to six months.
- Do not set your online gambling accounts to automatically log in. Additionally, don’t let them save your username or passwords. This helps to prevent data gathering for other attack vectors (see above).
- Have your phone and computer set up so that they log out after a set period of time. This helps to prevent situations of your device being compromised when you aren’t paying attention.
Other Device Security Tips
Additionally, here are some things to know specific to playing via mobile and while out and about:
- Whether with a computer or mobile device, don’t play through public Wi-Fi. It’s trivially easy to set up a trap like this to steal your account information. In fact, it’s so easy that kids could do it following instructions from online if they have the equipment.
- If your computer or smartphone happens to be lost or stolen, change your online gambling passwords immediately. This helps to prevent the worst case scenario of someone getting into your device.
As the expression goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Along these lines, these preventative measures help to avoid a bad situation before it happens.
Step 5: What to Do If You Are Compromised
Suppose the worst case scenario happens, and you find yourself with a compromised account. There are a few things you can do as soon as you find out to limit the damage.
Start by contacting support at the gambling site of choice. Let them know what has happened and that you’d like for them to lock all deposits and withdrawals until you can secure everything and lock everything down. Most sites will have fraud and security departments that can help you with this.
From there, check your statements for every payment method. This includes both deposit and withdrawal methods as well as eChecks, electronic wallets, credit cards and so on. What you’re looking for are any types of transactions that were not authorized. The site itself will almost always have a transaction record that you can view and check out for the same purpose.
We’ve covered pretty much everything that you can do to actively secure your online casino accounts. The same principles go for other styles of online gambling. While no method will stop 100 percent of attacks, you can stop the vast majority of them with a minimal amount of effort.